New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) Star boxer Nikhat Zareen kickstarted the defence of her title and India’s challenge with an impressive win at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships with a dominating victory while Sakshi Chaudhary and Nupur Sheoran also made winning starts at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here on Thursday.
The 26-year-old exuberant boxer from Telangana, who clinched 52kg gold in the last edition in Istanbul, began her title defence in style as she took just over four minutes to outclass Anakhanim Ismayilova with the Referee Stops Contest (RSC) verdict in the 50kg opening round contest. The pugilists from Azerbaijan looked clueless against Zareen’s strong jabs and quick movement in a thoroughly lopsided bout. The Indian will take on top-seeded Roumaysa Boualam of Algeria in the second round.
Zareen’s dominating triumph, in the first bout of the day, provided a befitting start to the prestigious event, which is being hosted by the Boxing Federation of India for the record third time in the country.
Extending the hosts’ domination further on the opening day, 2021 Asian Championships bronze medallists Chaudhary and Sheoran also registered emphatic wins with an identical 5-0 margin in their respective matches.
Sakshi dominated Colombian Maria Jose Martinez with supreme technical ability in the 52kg Round-of-32. Sheoran (+81kg), on the other hand, proved too strong for Abiola Jackman of Guyana in the Round-of-16 bout. She will now face Kazakhstan’s Urakbayeva Zhazira in the next round whereas debutant Nupur Sheoran will be up against tough Lazzat Kungeibayeva of Kazakhstan, the 2016 World Champion, in the quarterfinals.
FRANCE’S WASSILA CAUSES AN UPSET
Meanwhile, French boxer Lkhadiri Wassila caused a major upset of the day in the 50kg category when she sent the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist Chang Yuan of China packing with a 5-2 win in a thrilling bout after the review.
The ongoing event is witnessing the participation of 324 boxers, including several Olympic medallists, from 65 countries fighting for titles in the 12 weight categories.
Rio Olympics champion Estelle Mossely (60kg) of France is scheduled to begin her campaign on the second day of the tournament on Friday along with some other top boxers, including the five-time World Championships medallist Elif Guneri (75kg) of Turkey, reigning Asian Champion Oh Yeon-Ji (60kg) of South Korea, and former world champions Italy’s Alessia Mesiano (60kg) and Lina Wang (81kg) of China.
Among Indians, Jaismine Lamboria (60kg), Shashi Chopra (63kg) and Shruti Yadav (70kg) will fight in the Round-of-32. The tournament has a massive prize pool of INR 20 crore.